Sunday, December 25, 2011

Ho Ho Ho in Nuremburg

Santa and Rudolph DH and I saw while visiting this year's
Nuremburg Christmas Market.
He gave candy to the kids whether or not he was given money.
DH and I stopped by to see him everyday we were in town.
Ho Ho Ho ... Merry Christmas everyone.
Buon Natale, Auguri and Happy New Year!

Friday, December 23, 2011

easy-peasy hummus and pita chips

Not a clue where I picked up this recipe, I've tried a bunch over the years since living in Bahrain.
Have made this recipe a few times .... and I think it's wonderful!!  It's a keeper in my house!
Dip can be made and refrigerated 5-days ahead and the chips can be kept in a resealable bag for about a week.    Neither one lasts that long in our home.
This is one of the things I'm taking this to a friend's home for a Christmas day potluck. 

1 lemon
1 (15-oz) can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/4-cup tahini
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teas. vegetable oil
1/2-teas. ground cumin
1/8-teas. cayenne pepper
1/4-teas. salt
1/4-cup water
olive oil and chopped parsley for garnish

Pita chips:
6 pita bread rounds
1/4-cup olive oil
garlic salt (I generally use a little garlic powder and kosher salt ...salt is a must, the chips are really bland without some type of salt)
2 TB dried herbs such as basil or oregano (my personal favorite is basil)

To make the dip:
Squeeze the lemon and put 1/4-cup of the  juice into a blender or food processor.  Use any leftover juice however you please.

Add everything else other than the garnish ingredients in with the lemon juice and process until smooth; pausing when necessary to scrape down the sides with a spatula.

Put the hummus in a small bowl or shallow platter and drizzle with oilive oil.  Sprinkle with parsley.  It can sit at room temperature for up to four hours.

To make the chips:
Heat oven to 400-degrees.

Cut the pita rounds into 6-wedges and then separate each wedges into two pieces.
Can use small cookie cutters instead of cutting into wedges if you want the chips to be fancy.

Arrange the pita pieces on two baking sheets.  Brush the tops with olive oil, then sprinke with some garlic salt, pepper and dried herbs.

Bake the chips for about 7-minutes or until lightly browned.  Rotating trays halfway through the baking.
Cool the chips.

Leftover chips can be stored for up to a week in a resealable bag (ours never last that long). 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Santa Pup

Santa Pup DH and I saw while visiting Mineo
 (a hill town about an hour from where we live)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Friday, December 9, 2011

Friday, December 2, 2011

Keeping the mice away?

I have missed you all!   Computer and camera both went wonky ... and work, well .. let's just say that work has been challenging.  
Didn't have much time to surf the web -did get lots done around home.
 When the weather started getting colder here (this was taken in October or so), DH and I moved our cilantro and jalapeno pepper pot  from the terrace into the kitchen.  

 The colder weather also means cold floors ... so Indy has a few towels around so she can nap in comfort in sunshine.
We've used up all the cilantro .. but still have a few jalapenos to use soon ... and then I'll move the pot back outside until next spring.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Monday, September 19, 2011

Jester at Medieval Festival

Three more clips of the jester ...
even not understanding Italian, I think he's fun to watch.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 years ago the world changed ...

and it changed for everyone ... not just Americans.  So many people died ... of all nationalities and faiths.  So many innocents ... who had so much still to give in their lives ... who just happened to be in the wrong place when a few people wanted to make a statement.   I still know where I was when I heard  about the twin towers ... probably most of you can as well.  I watched way too much TV and listened to way too much radio when it was happening ... and for days afterward... until I finally had to turn them both off to save my sanity.   It was painful then.... and today, 10 years later... it is still painful.    DH had worked for a man who was killed in the Pentagon ... Jack had recently retired and was looking forward to life with grandchildren and experiences with his wife that they had put off due to his military career.  

I don't blame Islam as a whole ... it was a small group of people who were Islamic.  Most faiths have episodes in their history that are less than positive.   The Crusades and Inquistion pop to my mind immediately.

I'm not saying 9-11 was justified .... I'm saying the world changed and the whole of one faith can not be held at fault for the actions of a small group of their followers.   But for today ... my TV and radio will stay off ... I will work in my home and with my friends to bring beauty into the lives of those immediately around me.  

Have a blessed day, my friends, where ever you happen to be.  I wish you joy and peace.


Saturday, September 3, 2011

Say what???

what of what???

Jester in Motta S.A.

Recently Motta Sant'Anastasia (CT) Sicily had its annual Medieval Fest
 and celebrations in honor of the town’s patron saint, Santa Anastasia.
This jester was a lead performer one night. 
He's also a juggler and ventriloquist and a bunch more all rolled in one.
He was a riot to watch!

Hurting kitty

Indy had her annual physical first thing in the morning on the 24th ...
DH took her to the vet on his way in to work (he got in around 10) -
 I took her back home again at lunch.
She was out of her mini-carrier during the hour she was with me ..
she wasn't happy the vet poked, prodded and stuck her with a needle.
Poor baby....

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Frying gnocchi??

Sometimes thinking outside the box just doesn't work ....
I thought this was a riot! 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Etna erupts again

Etna has been erupting off and on all year long ...
This was taken from the end of our street last Friday.
We live about a third of the way up the side of Etna....
the few lava overflows there are go down the other side of the mountain.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Gift for my son

lava plaque my son asked us to get for him ...
ordered it about a year ago from a local lava carver...
got it a few months ago...
now have to figure out how to get it to him.

DS asked me to post the picture so he could see what it looks like...

Monday, July 25, 2011

St James candlelighting - Caltagirone

This year's luminaria design on the Sta Maria steps
 in Caltagirone for the St James Festival (24-25 July).

Made for a long day ... didn't get home until nearly 2 this morning.
We enjoyed the day even so.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Messina clock tower

The astronomical clock is the most interesting component of the 60m high bell-tower on the left of the cathedral. The mechanism dating from 1933 was built in Strasbourg.   There are several different displays built into the various levels of the tower.  Each display has its own separate movement.

 At the bottom, a two-horse chariot driven by a deity indicates the day of the week; above, the central figure of Death waves his scythe threateningly at the child, youth, soldier or old man – the four ages of man – that pass before him. At the third stage, the Sanctuary of Montalto (turn left to compare it with the real one) sets the scene for a group of figures which, according to the time of year, represent the Nativity, Epiphany, Resurrection and Pentecost. At the top, the tableau enacts a scene in a local legend where the Madonna gives a letter to the ambassadors of Messina in which she thanks and agrees to protect the inhabitants of the town who were converted to Christianity by St. Paul the Apostle.  The Madonna della Lettera (Madonna of the Letter) is the patron saint of Messina.

The two young female bell-strikers are the local heroines Dina and Clarenza, who participated in the resistance against the Angevins (1282). The very top is capped with a lion who starts off the noon-time show with loud roars.   The southern side of the bell-tower (going up from the  bottom) has a perpetual calendar, the astronomical cycle with signs of the zodiac, and the phases of the moon. When the clock strikes midday, all the mechanical figures come to life while the music plays: the lion, symbol of the town, roars three times while the rooster crows from between the two girls.

Lots of fun to watch the show ... and people watch as well.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Yum ... roasted chicken!

Generally roasted on a brace over a wood fire ...
DH and I could eat this just about daily.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Via Roma in Belpasso

Looking up the main road in Belpasso toward the Mother Church
(seen at the end of the road) ....
normally traffic is very light.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Italian zodiac

Miserably hot here the last few days ... DH picked up a pizza on the way home from the poker tournament.

The local pizza place has a new logo on their boxes.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Fourth of July!

“You have to love a nation that celebrates its Independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle,

but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism."

Erma Bombeck

Happy Fourth from Holly and family!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Days gone by ,,,

Been on holiday the last few weeks ....

came back and feels like we are in mid-summer here in Sicily!

This is from last fall ... the boy is wearing a folkloric outfit that was commonly worn 50 or more years ago.

Our landlady has a picture of her son in a similar suit.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Maletto's Strawberries

The main street in Maletto during the Strawberry Festival ...
 flag performers have finished one performance and are off to another.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Household tips

Found these while purging a pile of papers ... not tried and true (yet) ....

To safely get rid of ants:

In a bowl, combine 1/2-cup molasses, 1/4-cup of sugar and 1/4-cup active dry yeast.
Pour an 1/8-inch of the mixture into shallow bowls or saucers and leave them on counters, in cupboards, under the refrigerator ... anywhere you have seen ants.  The molasses and sugar will draw the ants in ...since they can't digest the yeast, they will die after eating the mixture.

To protect recipe cards from splatters:

Rub the surface with the flat end of a white candle.  The wax will make the paper water-resistant and you can wipe away the food or grease before the stain sets.

Household wipes substitutes:

Layer coffee filters in a resealable container and add just enough multi-purpose cleaner to dampen each one.  The filters will have the power of your favorite cleaner and since they have longer fibers than paper towels, they can stand up to more scrubbing than paper towels can.

I'm going to go try this one out now ... we use coffee filters when heating things in the microwave.

I do a quick wipe down of the bathroom most mornings just before leaving for work ... wiping out the sink, the window ledge, tub ledge and commode top takes just a minute or two ...while paper towels don't cost a lot of money ... filters are a heck of a lot cheaper.    Had planned to get a dozen or so cheap wash cloths to keep pre-dampened with cleanser in a container on the window ledge ...this may work out a lot better.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Baby blankets

Three of the baby blankets I have crocheted over the last two months ...
one of the volunteer activities I do with the
Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society.

When DH and I car-pool or go on road-trips, I generally crochet
most of the way.  Nice de-stressing activity and I can still hold a conversation or check out the scenery.

Santa Workshop gifts

One of the groups I volunteer with runs a Santa's Workshop for kids to get gifts for parents and siblings.
We collect items all year round from the local community and pull other items from our thrift shop (in new or excellent condition).  Prices range from 25-cents to a dollar or two.

We often have a lack of male oriented gifts ...had these jars in the cupboard (originally planned to make "smelly jellies" for holiday open house gifts ... but haven't taken the time). 

A bit of wrapping paper to cover the lid, stamp a tag and when December rolls around will fill the jars with peppermint candies or candy canes.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Carribean Chicken Jerk Wraps

Found this recipe a few months ago on (it was posted in July 2010).... finally tried it out this weekend.
We'll be making it again.
Skipped investing in either the nuts or the mint this time (thought about it until I saw what the store wanted for each) ... maybe next time. 
The store only had marinade --so it was probably spicier than if we used the jerk sauce.

salt to taste (I didn't use any)
1/2-teas. cinnamon
1/2-teas. allspice
1/3-cup jerk sauce (liquid, not the dry spice)
1-1/2 lbs. of chicken, cooked and shredded (we had some leftover grilled chicken)
2-cups cooked rice
3/4-cup pineapple (the original post said fresh, I used canned crushed, well drained)
1/4-cup chopped macademia nuts (didn't have any, maybe next time)
3-TB. chopped fresh mint (skipped this time)
2-teas. lime juice (I just sprinkle a few drops of lime juice on each wrap as I made it)
4   10-inch flour tortillas for wraps

In a bowl mix the spices and jerk sauce together.
Warm the tortllas and spread the spiced jerk sauce evenly on each.
Top with warm cooked rice, warm shredded chicken.
Top with nuts, mint, lime juice.
Roll up like a burrito and serve immediately.

Holly's notes:
Our tortillas fell apart as we were eating them time I think I'll put the sauce on top of the rice or heat the shredded chicken in it.
Makes a quick, filling meal that tastes great.
Since I could only find marinade -- the sauce was probably spicier than regular jerk sauce.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Display board

Gathering up the stickers we've picked up over the years ...
used one of my sales boards from being a real estate sales agent for the some plastic at the hardware store for the background.

We have more stickers somewhere...
and I have room to add more in the future.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Slow Food?

Slow Food restaurants are quite popular here in Sicily ...
wonderful change from fast food

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Pony walks?

DH and I saw this while heading home ...
 interesting way to exercise a horse.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Mother's Day card

This is the card my son sent for Mother's Day this year ...
said this card expressed his feelings better than the grown-up cards did ...
love the Singapore stamps he used! 

Thursday, May 12, 2011

WWII Canadian Cemetary

Small cementary near Triona (Catania province)
for Canadian soldiers and airmen of WW 2.
Private Sabblut was one of many lost during Operation Husky.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Lemon Doodle Cookies

Recipe By : Land O Lakes Cookie Collection

Serving Size : 48

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup coconut flakes
1 cup butter -- softened
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon peel -- grated

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large mixer bowl, combine all ingredients.
Beat at low speed, scraping the bowl often, for 2 to 4 minutes until well mixed.
Drop rounded teaspoonfuls of dough 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned.
Remove from the pans immediately.

Holly's notes: I got this recipe from an E-friend in one of my Email groups.
I made these last Sunday ... and they didn't last long at all.
Keep an eye on them in the oven - they cook quick!
Especially if you make smaller ones like I did for the second batch.
I also greased the cookie sheets after the first batch ...made it a bit easier to remove the cookies.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Monday, May 2, 2011

Pasqua cake

Giovanni and Carmela gave DH and I this Pasqua (Easter) cake ...
it's full of almonds and candied orange peel...the tastes of Sicily.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Carmela's flowers

Not a clue what this plant is ....but Carmela grows several on the front steps of our building. 

The pods are about two inches long and the entire stalk is about two feet long.  There are a bunch of the stalks on each plant and soon all of them will be covered with these pods.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Really good Orange Cake

Made this cake from the new
Debbie Macomber Cedar Cove Cookbook's wonderful!
Her recipe suggests topping it with a fresh orange juice-powder sugar glaze ....but I think it's perfect without a glaze.  
Goes together quickly, not a lot of ingredients ....
longest hands-on part was beating the egg whites -
even that didn't take very long.

This one won't last long in our house! 
Will be making it often .. while orange season lasts.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Candy Jars

These are on a local bakery's counter - I really like the flow of the curves.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Early morning sun

Went into work earlier than normal the morning after the time change to see a sunrise

Friday, March 25, 2011

carnivale cookie

This cookie was at a local bakery DH and I like ...
saw this one during this year's Carnivale period.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Welcome to Spring with a Supermoon

Spring opened up on 19 March with a Supermoon which was a full moon only 221,565 miles away - the biggest and brightest full moon since 1993. The "supermoon" phenomenon occurred because the moon was in its full phase at at the closest point in its orbit to Earth.  

All three of these photos are from our balcony -- I was surprised that my camera could get the seas and mountains of the moon as well as it did considering I do not have an expensive camera.